New Jersey Finalizes Revisions to Its Gifts Ban Law for Pharmaceutical Companies

After a year of debate and 69 comments on the state’s gifts ban law, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) recently amended the state’s limitations on prescriber compensation from pharmaceutical manufacturers. These changes were the result of legislation spanning the administrations of two different governors, former Governor Chris Christie (R) and current Governor Phil Murphy (D).

On May 6, N.J. Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal made effective amendments to the Limitations on and Obligations Associated with Prescriber Acceptance of Compensation from Pharmaceutical Manufacturers law. This gift ban law applies only to prescribers and refer to their interactions with pharmaceutical manufacturers concerning prescription drugs or biologics.

To start, prescribers are defined as those with a state license regardless of where they regularly practice. More specifically, prescribers include a “physician, podiatrist, physician assistant, advanced practice nurse, dentist, or optometrist who has an active license...[and] does not include a licensee who is an employee...of a pharmaceutical manufacturer who does not provide patient care.”

What You Need to Know 

While there are still limits to the compensation and gifts prescribers can receive from pharmaceutical companies, lawmakers eased restrictions on meal prices. After the restaurant and hospitality industry criticized previous limitations for being unrealistic, lawmakers raised the price limit for promotional activities from $15 for breakfast and lunch and to $30 for dinner.

Meal limits do not apply to education events. Also, fair market value (FMV) does not include the cost of standard delivery, service, facility rental fee, or tax. In addition, meal limits will be revisited annually and may be adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index.

Supporting Research

An education event is now defined to include information about diseases and treatments. Also, it takes into consideration the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s classification of promotional programs. Events must fit into New Jersey’s standard for an education event. The government seems to be acknowledging the importance of research as it relates to patient care and advances in medicine.

However, the $10,000 bona fide services cap remains. Grewal wrote that he “declines to change the bona fide services cap because he believes it is necessary to minimize the potential for conflicts of interest to ensure that patient care is guided by the unbiased, best judgment of the treating prescriber.” Advisory board participation and consulting in connection with research are exempt from the cap.  

New Jersey listened and responded to comments and debate about its “gifts ban” by making these amendments to its Limitations on and Obligations Associated with Prescriber Acceptance of Compensation from Pharmaceutical Manufacturers law. Although the state maintained the $10,000 bona fide services cap, it did provide some more flexibility in meal price limits and included changes to definitions of “educator event” and “prescriber.”

Lauren Howe

Compliance Attorney, MediSpend

Posted on May 15, 2019 10:46:14 AM

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